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The GOP Keeps Changing The Rules After It Loses Elections

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Read it in its entirety here.

Last Election Day, 555,651 Utahns ― 53 percent of voters ― backed a measure to expand Medicaid to low-income adults in the state. Last Monday, 79 Republicans made it clear they don’t care what those voters wanted.

All but four GOP members of the Utah legislature voted to repeal the voter-approved initiative and replace it with a more limited plan. Their plan will cover an estimated 90,000 people instead of the approximately 150,000 who would have received health benefits under the ballot initiative. This action came soon after the Utah legislature also weakened a voter-backed policy allowing the use of medical marijuana in the state.

Republican state legislators voted to pass the final version of the Medicaid bill last Monday, and Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed it hours later. Though Utah Republicans backed away from an earlier version of the legislation that could have resulted in no expansion at all, they nevertheless decided to overturn the will of their constituents almost immediately after convening for the 2019 legislative session.

Citizen activists who spent countless hours knocking on doors and gathering signatures to get Medicaid expansion on the ballot in Utah are, unsurprisingly, upset, said Chase Thomas, the executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, a Salt Lake City-based government watchdog group. The organization was among the many in the state that endorsed the Medicaid expansion and participated in the campaign to get it before the voters.

“It’s been all over our Facebook page, our Twitter: People saying, ‘How does my vote even matter if they’re allowed to do this?’ saying, ‘What’s the point?’” Thomas said. “That’s completely understandable. I even feel that way, like, why even have an initiative process if the legislature’s allowed to gut it right afterwards?”

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Read it in its entirety here.

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